iPad iPad 4 in place of Laptop?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by zachnelson, Nov 19, 2012.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    Oct 23, 2010
    I currently have a 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro, that I'm considering selling. I'd like to hear MR's views on if the iPad 4 could replace its functionality.

    I am a college student, and I write papers, prepare presentations and do regular computer stuff. I don't do anything other than email, web browsing, calendar etc all of which seems to be able to be done via iPad 4.

    Anyone have any points I may have overlooked?
  2. darngooddesign, Nov 19, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2012

    macrumors G3

    Jul 4, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    Sell your rMBP, and buy an iPad 4 and a used 13" Macbook. While everything can be done on the iPad, some things are just easier on a laptop.
  3. macrumors 6502a


    Jun 24, 2010
    Chicago and Spooner (when it's not 20 below)
    Just keep in mind the size factor. Going from a 15" screen to a 9.7" screen is going to be pretty dramatic and may be problematic for you. I'm surprised you didn't originally look at the MacBook Air. That's what I've been (and continue) using and I am way more efficient at typing and content generation (numbers and pages files) on the Air than I am on the iPad 4.
  4. macrumors G4


    Jun 12, 2012
    As someone who is done with school, a regular laptop serves zero purpose for me; However, if I was still in school I feel like a laptop is a must.

    Being done w/ school, my ipad 4 has completely replaced my laptop.
  5. macrumors 6502

    Jun 16, 2012
    I would sell the MBPR and get an Air. I think have others have said, some things are just easier on a laptop, but its nice to pick up a iPad and browse, send emails. Not sure I could right a paper on it though - does the ipad have the same functionality in terms of editing as Pages or MS Word for Mac have?
  6. macrumors G4


    Jun 12, 2012
    well office is suppose to be making its way to IOS in the beginning of next year. If you get a wireless keyboard, then it makes papers and what not much much easier.
  7. macrumors 604


    Jul 2, 2007
    Sunny Florida
    You just need to make a list of the things YOU need a device for, and from there you can decide. No one but you can determine this.

    For example, do you own an Escort Radar Detector? If you do, you get a weekly update for traffic light cameras you need a laptop to install it with. Do you own a Garmin device? Firmware updates are just not possible with an iPad.

    Does your school REQUIRE you to view/visit certain websites to view content or take tests that use FLASH? That's would be very hard (impossible) with an iPad.

    The list of things you need a real computer for is loooooong. But none of it may apply to you. Maybe all you need is email and mobile Safari. If you can live with just that, then the iPad might work. But we don't know because we are not you. Only you know.

    Me, I couldn't make it work. Besides having to upgrade firmware on gadgets, I still rip the ocassional CD/DVD, I use Quicken for Windows for my finances, and I need to run Windows 7 for other personal reasons. A MacBook Air for me is a MUST. But it does gather dust since all my browsing, email, and most gaming these days is done on the iPad. But that's ME.
  8. macrumors 6502

    Jun 16, 2012
    Knowing MS it will be really feature-less when it does come.
  9. ReallyBigFeet, Nov 19, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2012

    macrumors 68030


    Apr 15, 2010
    While technically all your needs can be achieved via an iPad 4 (even an iPad 2 for that matter), its a matter of how hard do you want to WORK to achieve those goals.

    With Pages and Keynote on an iPad, you can edit long documents and do entire presentations. But you will find the functionality limited, as both programs are essentially handicapped versions of their desktop counterparts. You can augment this a little by adding something like OmniGraffle for iPad to your device, which lets you do a lot of drawings and such that can be inserted into the Pages document on the iPad. But do that requires more than a little gee-wizardry (DropBox saves, copy/paste between apps, etc.) and when its all done you will find the same work taking far longer to do on an iPad when compared to doing the same on a full OSX or Windows laptop.

    When my daughter went away to college, I outfitted her with a Macbook Air. Its almost as small as an iPad, has a full keypad and the apps/OSX are just far easier to use for more complex tasks. She also has an iPad2, but that's more for eBook reading and/or marking up notes on the PDF presentations that her professors/classes distribute. That combo works well for her, although she tells me she uses the MBA much, much more than she uses the iPad for classwork. The iPad is a "nice to have" supplement, but not her go-to device.

    So I guess it depends on what you are willing to sacrifice more?

    -If money is no object, get both an MBA and an iPad. You don't even really need an iPad 4. A Mini or an iPad 2 (or refurb'd 3) would suffice.
    -If time/workarounds are of little concern to you, get an iPad, buy yourself an external keyboard and a case to carry the two, and learn to embrace the mouseless world of content creation. Its a challenge but if your needs are simple, its a simple challenge.
    -If you just want to get work done, get a laptop. The littlest MBA netbook variant would be more than fine, a 13" full MBA even better and, for my money, a 13" MBP (non-Retina) a good compromise between the two. Save your money for an iPad when you can afford a luxury item.
    -Don't sell your MBP 15", buy a refurb'd iPad 3 or an iPad 2. Second cheapest alternative and you still retain the best of both worlds. Invest in a good stylus or an external keyboard for taking notes on the iPad in this case and make it your classroom rig, then keep the MBP in the dorm or apartment as your "homework" rig.

    Good luck in school!
  10. macrumors newbie

    Apr 28, 2010
    I would agree with this post. It's a well-written and thoughtful reply to the OP's questions.

    I might add that the 11" MBA might do well as a sole computer for college, assuming that one has a larger display back at the dorm/apartment.
  11. macrumors 6502

    Jan 12, 2008
    I have both an rMBP 15" and an iPad 4. For my particular needs, there is absolutely no way that one could replace the other.

    However, for the stuff you want to do, there's nothing to stop you. I think it's a case of how much you want to compromise on flexibility in order to save money. Making a decent looking presentation on an iPad is perfectly doable in the same way that eating M&Ms with chopsticks is doable. The results are the same, but it's more fiddly and time consuming. Are you happy to put up with not having the additional features and tools that come with a full blown personal computer?

    I think you need to consider whether you're comfortable with either of the following:

    - Spend longer creating each presentation in order to get the same results.


    - Compromise on quality a little in order to get the work done in the same time frame as you would with your Mac.

    So some of it comes down to your own personal time management and how much of this type of work you will be expected to produce.
  12. macrumors 601


    Jan 6, 2005
    As much as I love my ipad, no way would I consider it as my only computer, especially in school or for work. It's WAY more efficient to work on a laptop - real multitasking, real programs, more screen real estate, compatibility with all web sites, etc etc etc.

    An ipad is a great appliance but severely compromised for a real workload. Keep your rMBP.
  13. macrumors 6502


    Jun 23, 2010
    Los Angeles
    As a senior in college, I've owned an HP "craptop" since 2009. Granted, It still works, but it's not a pleasure to use anymore. I went ahead and built a custom gaming PC with two 22" HDMI monitors for cheaper (some used parts) and just purchased an iPad 4 in 32 GB for a laptop replacement. Working wonderfully so far.

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